Platforms - 3DS
Genre - 3rd Person Action
Aust. Classification – PG
Publisher - Nintendo
Kid Icarus Uprising follows the antics and adventures of our angelic hero Pit. With the help of his mentor Palutena (the Goddess of Light) he battles against a reborn Medusa (the Goddess of Darkness), the Lord of the Underworld and their minions, as they attempt to bring you down and destroy mankind. Not only that, Pit has to contend with an evil version of himself (Nicknamed Pittoo) who has made it his mission to destroy the underworld Army and Pit, as he truly believes he is the real deal, not you. Things to keep in mind - Purple water bad, Gold water good... oh and pretty much everything, no matter how cute, wants to kill you.
Unfortunately a lot of the dialogue and character background is given via ongoing banter throughout the game, even during the midst of the action. It was here that trying to concentrate on the storyline was futile and so I felt like I missed a lot of interesting stuff. At times felt like I was coming in half way through a conversation.
The controls are simple use and intuitive. The Touch Screen or action buttons control the reticle while L1 is used to fire and then of course the Circle Pad to move Pip. There is not much more to it. I was all excited when I saw it supported the Circle Pad Pro on the back of the box, but because I didn't read the fine print, this can only be used for an alternative set up exclusively for left handers. What? Seriously, that sucks. Because of the way the controls are set up for right handers, the left hand cramps rather quickly and I could only ever manage two-four stages at a time before I would need a rest. Nintendo has also foreseen this and included a rather cool little plastic stand. This didn't help much, until I discovered my old stable table on top of the fridge and found a nice comfortable position on my lap. So there you go Nintendo, just include a Stable Table with the game and the problem is solved!
There is no jump button when playing on the ground which is a little off putting but there are plenty of bouncy things to propel Pit to other platforms or a special power that does exactly that but only a limited number. Dashing plays a pretty big part when on the ground and is a weapon in itself. I found some of the vehicles you get to drive a bit annoying and probably the hardest thing in the game to get my head around but once I had mastered the concept it wasnt long before I was zooming around the level. These moments are spread out, so each time it does take a few moments to adjust to its controls again.
The level design is so inventive and clever and the integrated puzzles just add to the overall enjoyment of the game. You can only maintain flight for five minutes at a time due to the Goddess getting a bit tired and needing a rest. It is then when Pip becomes ground bound defining the two main modes within the game, with Pit skipping along merrily when on the ground. The enemies are not only the most bizarre things I have seen but they are also very Nintendoish and even the most evil are lovably evil and amongst other things die nicely and complementing you in their demise.
Rewards are dished out at the end of each stage and I loved how the game would give you a chance to increase the difficulty before each one. This gradual difficulty increase control tempts you to turn it up slightly, with the carrot being more hearts rewarded at the end. Keeping in mind that you lose hearts if you need to use a continue, which is of course more likely by selecting the increased difficulty, so make this choice based on your prowess on the last level.
The 3D is used boldly and is probably the most impressive yet for this console, perfectly emphasising and complementing the elements while subtly becoming a part of the gameplay itself. In saying this though it still looks great in 2D but it definitely loses what I think is a crucial part of the game. While the visuals are diverse enough, mostly thanks to the environments, I did however get a bit sick of giant noses and eyeballs. There are diverse environments including darkened caverns, open plains and everything in between including the obvious flying through the clouds that the cover represents.
The weapon building/improvement system is surprisingly deep, with weapons given as a reward and hearts being the currency. These hearts can then be used to buy arsenal from the Weapon bank. What I was most impressed with though, was the weapon fusing. Here you could put together custom creations using any combination in a simple X, Y graph set up. You can even fuse them all together for one powerful weapon of Doom. This meant I was always keen to get back into the game to try out my new invention.
There are things that are not explained properly that add so much more depth to the game (or maybe they were explained in the dialogue I missed??). One of the major ones is how Special powers can be customised or auto-sorted to appear and executed on the touch screen. I wish I's known about these sooner! I think I could have accumulated a lot more hearts and used less continues if I had explored and understood the menus a bit sooner. These powers are only available on the ground as the charged orbs are the main special weapon when in flight mode, these explode everything within close vicinity becoming crucial when the action becomes intense.
Overall this is one brilliant handheld game. It should be an essential companion to anyone who owns a 3DS as all gamers, no matter what their chosen genre is, will find something to like. Apart from the hand cramping I felt quite in tune with the control layout and the gameplay not long after starting. I definitely recommend going through the manual after getting the idea of the game to delve into the nuances and the weapon fusing because they make it all that more enjoyable from early on.For the final score and more, go to Maceman Reviews